Lot 183. A Mughal gem-set and enamelled gold archer's ring, North India, circa 17th century; 4.5cm. max. lengthEstimate 10,000 — 15,000 GBP. Unsold. Courtesy Sotheby's.

enamelled with a green ground and set with diamonds, pink gemstones and turquoise in the kundantechnique as a flowerhead with foliate stems, the interior with a white enamel ground and red, blue and green enamelled floral blossoms.

Note: Archers' rings with an asymmetrical construction, such as the present example, were designed to enable the archer to release the arrow with precision and in so doing, protect the inner side of the thumb against the bow string. Appreciated for their practical use as well as their craftsmanship, they were presented as tokens of appreciation by the emperors and would have only been worn by his innermost circle. A similar ring is in the Al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait, inv. no.2216 J (see Keene 2001, p.63, no.6.3). 

Sotheby's. Arts of the Islamic World including Fine Rugs and Carpets, London, 01 May 2019, 10:30 AM